“…a more educated, sophisticated and straight thinking hunter and shooter demographic.”

Bob Ricker of the astroturf gun-ban er, –control, ah, -safety “organization” American Hunters and Shooters Association, has been dropping by pro-gun blogs and leaving comments. First, one over at Bitter’s that piqued SayUncle’s ire, and then one at SayUncle’s post about it.

Here’s the key graph of the first one:

I think it should be clear from my comments here and on other “whacko” blogs that AHSA is reaching out to a more educated, sophisticated and straight thinking hunter and shooter demographic.

And here’s his second comment, with his really poor attempt at superiority:

Hey SayUncle- only seven comments to this post? I’m stunned. Of the 30 to 40 million so called NRA members Bitter writes about, you could only find 7 who don’t agree with me. How many “whackos” do you represent?

Let me take on, as others have done, his first comment:

“More educated” – I have a BA from the University of Arizona. Granted it’s in “General Studies,” but the three areas of concentration are Math, Physics and Engineering. It was enough to qualify me (with work experience and recommendations from other licensed engineers) to take the exams necessary to get my own license to practice Electrical Engineering. I took each exam once, and passed.

“Sophisticated” – Boy, you got me there. I don’t eat Brie or drink wine (even out of a box!) I can’t discuss opera or the theatah, and ballet absolutely bores me to tears. I’m just unsophisticated as all get-out.

“Straight-thinking” – I won’t go where Uncle went, but I think if Bob spent some time reading the “Best Of” posts on my left sidebar, he might conclude that my brain works just fine. It has to: I’m an engineer.

“Hunter” – Well, I’ve been on one deer hunt and one javalina hunt. No joy either time. But hunting is not really my bag. Hunting, to me, is taking your gun for a walk.

“Shooter” – Not as much of a shooter as I’d like to be. All this reading and writing cuts into my time to reload and get out on weekends to shoot. But I have started participating in action matches, and I look forward to burning about 250 rounds of .45ACP a month doing that, plus whatever time I can spare shooting some of my other firearms.

So, the demographic Bob is after is the $10,000+ Perazzi wingshooting set?

Good luck with that, Bob! (I prefer shooting thrown clays with my .30-06 1917 Enfield. It’s a bit more of a challenge.)

Perhaps my sixteen regular readers might want to opine over at Uncle’s. His post is up to thirty-two replies as I write this.

You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

(I wanted to post this on Tuesday, but illness and work has postponed it until now.) From the press conference held by Mayor Adrian Fenty and the rest of the D.C. team immediately after oral arguments in D.C. v. Heller. Fenty:

I want to again emphasize that this case is public safety case. We have long had a law in the District of Columbia are banned in the city. Thirty years ago, as is the case today, handguns represent a disproportionate number of crimes in the District of Columbia. Everything from homicides to robberies to rapes.

Well then, doesn’t that tell you that the BAN DOESN’T WORK?

No, of course not!

The fact that we have had a handgun ban has significantly curtailed the number of violent crimes in the city as evidenced by the fact that violent crime has steadily gone down since the law was enacted.

Outright, blatant, unapologetic LIE #1. Here is a nice compilation of FBI crime statistics for the District of Columbia in one place. The law was enacted in 1976:

Murder: 26.8/100,000
Rape: 72.4/100,000
Robbery: 1,003.4/100,000
Aggravated assault: 378.8/100,000

In 1980:

Murder: 31.5/100,000
Rape: 69.1/100,000
Robbery: 1,400.6/100,000
Aggravated assault: 509.4/100,000

In 1985:

Murder: 23.5/100,000
Rape: 53.8/100,000
Robbery: 835.5/100,000
Aggravated assault: 712.0/100,000

In 1990:

Murder: 77.8/100,000
Rape: 49.9/100,000
Robbery: 1,213.5/100,000
Aggravated assault: 1,117.0/100,000

In 1995:

Murder: 65.0/100,000
Rape: 52.7/100,000
Robbery: 1,239.0/100,000
Aggravated assault: 1,304.7/100,000

In 2000:

Murder: 41.8/100,000
Rape: 43.9/100,000
Robbery: 621.3/100,000
Aggravated assault: 810.0/100,000

In 2005:

Murder: 29.1/100,000
Rape: 31.8/100,000
Robbery: 658.4/100,000
Aggravated assault: 789.1/100,000

Yet Mayor Fenty expects us to accept that the handgun ban somehow caused crime rates in D.C. to “steadily decline.”


Here’s a page that compares Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria – three cities in very close geographical location, but with vastly different gun laws. In 2005, D.C. (with a handgun ban and a population of 550,000) had 195 homicides. Alexandria, VA (right next door with a population of 130,000 and “shall-issue” concealed-carry) had 3. That’s a rate comparison of 35.4/100,000 for D.C. to (carry the one…) 2.3/100,000. But D.C. is supposedly safer because of its gun laws?

That’s Fenty’s talking point!

As mayor of the District of Columbia, I can attest that the majority of the residents of this city enthusiastically support the laws the council passed in the seventies, and want it to continue in order that crime continues to go down.

I don’t think he really gives a damn what the residents of the city think. They very well might support such laws if they are stupid enough to swallow this kind of bilge as “fact.”

Next up, Chief of Police, Cathy L. Lanier

I have said many, many times as Police Chief of Washington, D.C. and after policing here in the city for nearly eighteen years, that the issue with handguns to me is very clear: a weapon that is easily concealed, that can be taken inside of schools, inside of churches, inside of government buildings, without anyone’s knowledge and be used, uh, and even high-capacity, uh rounds, capacity for a lot of handguns to create massive destruction is something that we don’t want in the District of Columbia.

Yet you think a ban will (or has) stopped this? The national homicide rate in 2005 was 5.6/100,000. In D.C. it was 29.1. “But D.C. is a city,” you argue. The homicide rate in New York City in 2005 was 6.6. In Boston, 12.9. Orlando, 10.5. Washington, D.C. ranked #13 out of 353 different cities for homicide rate in the U.S. in 2005. but we’re supposed to believe that Washington’s handgun ban actually keeps handguns out of the hands of criminals there?

I think the reasonable standard of the handgun laws in the District, which are not completely a ban, because there is licensed handguns in the District of Columbia for law enforcement, retired law enforcement, federal law enforcement, security agencies, so it’s not a complete ban on handguns,…

No, indeed. It’s just a ban for anyone who is not an “only one.” It’s a ban for anyone who doesn’t draw a government paycheck. And Anthony Heller, who is a security guard, and who carries a firearm to protect judges is not allowed to have that same firearm at home to protect himself. He’s not “only one” enough. But he was the “only one” enough to have standing in the suit against the City.

Yet you believe this is “reasonable.”

...but I think there is some reasonableness on where and when certain types of weapons can and should not be carried. A great example of that was I had to surrender my weapon when I entered the Supreme Court today as Chief of Police of the District of Columbia, and I have no problem with that. I think it’s reasonable.

Tell me, Chief; would you think it would be “reasonable” to drop you – in full uniform, sans radio and sidearm – in the middle of the highest-crime district of the city at eleven o’clock at night? Would you feel safe?

So, I think again, as a person who’s looked at the other side of the gun violence, and the accidents, and the suicides and all the other things that go along with handgun possession in the District of Columbia, I think the arguments today were very strong on our behalf, and I’m excited and looking forward to the outcome.

Wait, how can there be suicides and accidents and gun violence if there’s a ban that’s working?

Now Peter Nickles, D.C. Attorney General:

Good morning. In my view the ultimate issue here is can the City impose reasonable regulation on a Constitutional right.

A complete ban on private possession is “reasonable regulation”?

There is no Constitutional right that is not subject to reasonable regulation. I think, in the rebuttal, my colleague, the former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, he made the ultimate point, and that is do you want a legislature that can deal with the idiosyncracies and the difficulties and the details of this city as distinct from a rural community making policy decisions, or do you want a thousand judges around the country deciding what the Second Amendment means and how it should be regulated?

No, we just want the nine Justices on the Supreme Court bench doing that – finally, after seventy years. We’ve already tried the “thousand judges around the country” crap.

But I felt the Justices were obviously very interested, it was a very spirited argument and we look forward to the outcome.

I bet you do.

Walter Dellinger:

It was a very interesting and lively Court this morning. Obviously everyone on the Court was interested in debating the great issues of history and Constitutional law. At the end of the day, I think however one resolves those great theoretical and Constitutional issues, we come down to the fact that this is an extremely reasonable law…

If you happen to not live under it, or are protected by “law enforcement, retired law enforcement, federal law enforcement, or security agencies.” If you happen to live in a high-crime area and are just Joe or Jane Average, however, it’s not so reasonable. Ask David Souter how safe D.C. is.

…because the District of Columbia really thought this through, and they allowed rifles and shotguns – they believe in the right of people to be able to defend their homes.

Outright, blatant, unapologetic LIE #2. Rifles and shotguns are required by law to be kept unloaded, and disassembled or equipped with a trigger lock. A gun in this condition is known as “a club.” Alan Gura pointed this out during his oral argument. Amazing how the City somehow magically found this “loophole” in their complete ban on functional firearms in the home.

They singled out handguns because they are as the Chief of Police said, a unique weapon because they are concealable and mobile. They can be taken on busses, on the Metro, into schools, into offices, into government buildings. They were responsible for ninety percent of the armed robberies in the year before this law was enacted and they were used in every single rape in which a weapon was used, it was a handgun, in the year before this law was enacted. The facilitate suicides, they are prone to accidents, and I’ve talked to the police officers of the District, and they tell me how concerned they are about concealable handguns when they have to execute a warrant or go into a scene at a home of a domestic disturbance and what the risk is to law enforcement.

What? Thirty years after the ban went into effect the police are still concerned?

Wow. That reasonable law has worked wonders, hasn’t it?

We think this is a reasonable law…

Did somebody change the dictionary meaning of “reasonable” to “counterproductive” when I wasn’t looking? Is this another example of right-wing language manipulation that no one told me about?

…and that the decision ought to be overturned because it sets an absolutist position that if you have a weapon, a kind of weapon that is a lineal descendent of something that was in 1787 you absolutely may not prohibit that weapon at all. And we think, as the Solicitor General of the United States said today that that would put at risk prohibition on machine guns and armor piercing bullets which are a threat to our law enforcement officers. So we hope that when considerations are given to the reasonableness of this law and the alternatives that are allowed for self-defense, that this law will be sustained.

Again, a complete ban is considered a “reasonable restriction”? Hunting ammunition for centerfire rifles will defeat police vests. Should all centerfire rifle ammunition be banned? Is that “reasonable”?

It is in their world.

Vincent Gray, D.C. City Council Chairman:

As the Mayor indicated, homicides in the District of Columbia have gone down.

Sure. There were 188 homicides in D.C. in 1976, and 195 in 2005. That equals “going down” in my book! The population of Washington D.C. has ALSO gone down, from 702, 000 in 1976 to 582,000 in 2005.

Go on, pull my other leg.

In a substantial part because of our ban on handguns.

Then you ought to be able to prove that. But since you’re lying from the outset (and no one is calling you on it in public), why bother?

I shudder to think that if we were to have this ban removed what kind of lawless behavior we would see in the District of Columbia.

Ah, yes. Here’s the key graph of the whole thing: the “Wild West shootouts,” the “blood in the streets” that we always hear about – but never actually GET. D.C. already has “Wild West shootouts” and “blood in the streets.” What Mr. Gray fears is that the law abiding citizens will start acting like the criminals who already infest his city.

In short, like most politicians, he doesn’t trust his own constituency. (Well, seeing that they’re stupid enough to reelect Marion “Bitch set me up!” Barry, maybe he’s on to something after all…)

Frankly, if we were able to prohibit importation of guns into the District of Columbia, I think we would be even closer to zero homicides than we are now.

So let’s see about chucking the protection against unreasonable searches? Wouldn’t that be “reasonable”? I mean, after all, it’s a public safety case, right?

This is the semantic equivalent of “Communism hasn’t worked because it’s never really been tried.” The entire island nation of Great Britain has banned handguns. They have no adjoining neighbor nations. You have to either fly, take a ferry or the Chunnel to get there. And their handgun crime has never been higher than it is right now – more than double what it was when all legally registered and licensed guns were turned in by their owners. “If we were able to prohibit importation of guns” is the fantasy that all gun-ban supporters dream of. It’s the same as “If pigs could fly.” The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!

So I think a strong argument was made today, and I feel confident that when the Court considers this they will consider the District of Columbia’s law eminently reasonable.

I hope not. I hope they slap you so hard your momma says “Ouch!” But I don’t expect that. I’ll settle for an unequivocal definition of the right to arms as an individual one.

I really want to see the Ninth Circuit’s Hickman decision overturned.

Fenty, answering questions from the media:

As Mayor of the District of Columbia, more guns anywhere in the District of Columbia is going to lead to more crime, and that is why we stand so steadfastly against the repeal of our handgun ban.

Even though in the entire nation we add 3-4 million firearms per year, but crime has been going down since the early 1990’s. Here’s a man firmly attached to his fantasy. This is the gun-banner’s mantra – guns are the cause of crime. They give off evil brain-altering waves that make people commit violent crime, suicide, and accidents. Guns are talismans of evil!

Dick Heller was asked:

Why does this case mean so much to you? Why was it worth taking to the Supreme Court?

Heller answered:

It’s a basic issue of our Constitutional right to our life and self-defense has been violated. And additionally, as a security officer, I carry a gun to protect government officials, but my life isn’t worth protecting at home, in their eyes.

That’s it in a nutshell.

And here’s the Quote of the Day:

The ruling class doesn’t care about public safety. Having made it very difficult for States and localities to police themselves, having left ordinary citizens with no choice but to protect themselves as best they can, they now try to take our guns away. In fact they blame us and our guns for crime. This is so wrong that it cannot be an honest mistake. – former U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wy.)

Not one of the fine representatives of the City of Washington, D.C. could be properly tagged with the word “honest.” They wouldn’t know honesty if it bit them on the ass.

I’ve Heard of Cutting Someone a New One, But…

Woman Goes for Leg Operation, Gets New Anus Instead

A German retiree is taking a hospital to court after she went in for a leg operation and got a new anus instead, the Daily Telegraph is reporting.

The woman woke up to find she had been mixed up with another patient suffering from incontinence who was to have surgery on her sphincter.

The clinic in Hochfranken, Bavaria, has since suspended the surgical team.

Now the woman is planning to sue the hospital. She still needs the leg operation and is searching for another hospital to do it.

Yeah, that socialized medicine is so much better than ours! What happened to Teutonic efficiency? At least she didn’t have to pay for the new orifice!

(Sorry for the lack of posting, but I’ve been under the weather.)

And So It Begins…

Oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller before the Supreme Court of the United States are scheduled for tomorrow morning. Audio of the arguments will be made available shortly afterward so we can hear what everyone said.

There’s no telling exactly when the actual decision will be handed down.

I predicted the outcome of the Kelo decision months before it was handed down based on the two prior precedent-setting cases. Here, the most recent thing we’ve got is Miller.

I’m betting on a 5-4 decision, but which way? I honestly don’t have a clue. It depends on whether there are five intellectually honest judges on that bench, or five willing to “create magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases – or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text,” or to simply “(bury) language that is incontrovertibly there.”

Because any decision that upholds the D.C. ban will have to be built on the white spaces between the lines of text, on top of a foundation of the words they will have to bury six feet under.

This decision may not tell us if we will be able to remain, as Rev. Donald Sensing put it sometime back, at least “minimally truly free,” but it might very well tell us that such hope is well and truly gone.

Either way, ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ.

The next überpost will be delayed until after the oral arguments and the resultant commentary.

I Speak Bureaucratese…

I just got a letter from the Transportation Security Administration (or “A Security Theater”) about my status as a person of interest who cannot print out a boarding pass from home or work. Here’s the key graph of the letter I received from a Mr. Jim Kennedy of the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) [and my, aren’t they clever with the acronyms!]:

In response to your request, we conducted a review of any applicable records in consultation with other Federal agencies, as appropriate.

That’s good. Wouldn’t want any inappropriate reviews.

Where it was determined that a correction to records was warranted, these records were modified to address any delay or denial of boarding that you may have experienced as a result of the watch list screening process.

And this means exactly bupkis.

I won’t know if my status has changed until the next time I try to print a boarding pass out at home. That should be in May when I fly to Louisville for the 2nd Amendment Blogger Bash and NRA meeting.

Well, we’ll see.

Quote of the Day.

Speaking as an utter amateur, I’m worried less about a recession than inflation. I’m worried most about a recession, inflation AND a jolly round of trade wars, coupled with fragile banks, overcapacity, diminished consumer confidence and aggressive messianic collectivism. Something about that smells familiar. I love studying the thirties and forties, but not first hand. – James Lileks, today’s Bleat

Technical Question.

Does anybody know the actual size and thread pitch on the scope mounting holes of a Remington 700 5R receiver? They look to be #6 screw holes, but the thread pitch appears to be finer than 40 TPI. Or are they 5-40? Or metric? Evolution Gun Works says the screws they ship with their bases are 6-40, but they don’t fit the holes in my rifle.

A web search has netted me nada on this question. Even AR15.com has not been helpful.

Quote of the Day.

But first, from the Nov. 13, 2006 Los Angeles Times:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to make reform of congressional earmarks a priority of his tenure, arguing that members need to be more transparent when they load pet projects for their districts into federal spending bills.

But last year’s huge $286-billion federal transportation bill included a little-noticed slice of pork pushed by Reid that provided benefits not only for the casino town of Laughlin, Nev., but also, possibly, for the senator himself.

Reid called funding for construction of a bridge over the Colorado River, among other projects, “incredibly good news for Nevada” in a news release after passage of the 2005 transportation bill. He didn’t mention, though, that just across the river in Arizona, he owns 160 acres of land several miles from proposed bridge sites and that the bridge could add value to his real estate investment.

Reid denies any personal financial interest in his efforts to secure $18 million for a new span connecting Laughlin with Bullhead City, Ariz.

“Sen. Reid’s support for the bridge had absolutely nothing to do with property he owns,” said Rebecca Kirszner, Reid’s communications director. “Sen. Reid supported this project as part of his continuing efforts to move Nevada forward.”

But some Bullhead City property owners and local officials say a new bridge will undoubtedly hike land values in an already-booming commuter town, where speculators are snapping up undeveloped land for housing developments and other projects. Experts on congressional spending say Reid’s earmark provides yet another sign of the need for reform.

That’s not the QotD, but RTWT. Especially the part where Rebecca Kirszner, Reid’s communications director says: “With Democrats running Congress, we are in a much better position to achieve real transparency and openness.”

THIS is the QotD:

As we look back in history, the Founding Fathers would be cringing to hear people talking about eliminating earmarks. – Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV) after the overwhelming vote to defeat an anti-earmarking bill

And where do you find this quote? The Associated Press? Reuters? CNN? FOX News? ABCBSNBC? The New York Times?

No. According to Google the only news source reporting this fascinating utterance was The Hill, though National Review Online does have a Tom Coburn response that quotes it.

I cannot help but wonder at just which history books Senate Majority Leader Reid has been reading.

And which Constitution he swore an oath to uphold and defend.